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MOSCOW, 10 March. /TASS/. Former director of the Russian defense ministry's property department Yevgenia Vasilyeva said on Tuesday investigators have deliberately falsified the case of large-scale embezzlement at the defence ministry and exerted pressure on witnesses.
"This is a frame-up case. The scale of lies and spin doctoring used to mislead court proves it. Investigators invented the crime and misled top officials. It is absolutely obvious that facts have been fabricated by an organized criminal group," she said, adding that the criminal case had been falsified by means of exerting pressure on witnesses and making false expert opinions.
Vasilyeva began to give testimony on Tuesday. The large-scale embezzlement case at the Russian defence ministry is one of the most high-profile corruption cases in modern Russia involving former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who lost his post over it.
According to the chief military investigation department of the Russian Investigations Committee, damage incurred by Vasilyeva’s criminal actions exceeds three billion roubles (more than $50 million). She has been under home arrest since November 23, 2012.
Soon after his resignation, Vasilyeva’s chief, Anatoly Serdyukov, was charged with negligence, which incurred huge material damage. Military investigators claim that the former defence minister issued verbal instructions to his subordinates to use funds from the defence ministry’s budget to build a motor road from the village of Krasa, Russia’s Astrakhan region, to the island of Shkolnyi where a non-profit partnership "Zhitnoye" was located. The partnership was owned by another person involved in the case, Serdyukov’s son-in-law Puzikov, who handed over this resort to the defence ministry as soon as the investigation was launched.